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Living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Essay

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Updated: Feb 2nd, 2021

Concrete Experience

Since birth, I have not experienced any form of chronic illness that could threaten my life, and thus I did not know how it feels to have a chronic disease. Together with my friends, we used to attend many social events where I acquired some trendy behaviors. My friends showed me how to smoke a cigar, and I eventually started to smoke it. The experience of smoking a cigar and interacting with friends at social events was very enjoyable. I never missed a single social event that my friends attended because we shared many things with them. The experience that I underwent when I interacted with friends was so enjoyable that I could not afford to stay without my friends. The most memorable experiences in my life are the ones I shared with friends at various social events. I did all the activities that my friends performed and I enjoyed every bit of them. During my youth, all the activities that I performed involved my friends and they were very enjoyable.

Given that social events dominated my childhood, I did not manage to attend school during my childhood. While other children were busy attending school, I was busy socializing with other children who did not bother to go to school. In this view, I received my general education development (GED) during my adulthood. GED motivated me to pursue my education just like my peers because education is essential for one to get a decent job and live a good life. After receiving my GED, I was privileged to get a job in a survey company. The job was very exciting as I interacted with people physically or through the phone when asking questions or administering questionnaires. The job equipped me with communication and research skills, as I was able to acquire essential skills. Owing to the nature of work that I performed, the company promoted me to be a team leader, where I led a team of researchers to perform various tasks. The position of the team leader enhanced my leadership skills since I was able to make remarkable accomplishments.

When I was working in the survey company, I started to become sick. The signs and symptoms of the sicknesses were shortness of breath, frequent coughing, production of sputum, and chest pains. When the signs and symptoms persisted, I decided to visit the doctor who informed me to perform some diagnosis. The laboratory technologists performed a chest scan and analysis of sputum to diagnose the cause of the symptoms and signs that I experienced. I was not worried at all about the nature of sickness that I was suffering from because I have not been sick for a long time. However, when the diagnostic results came out, the doctor told me I was suffering from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The word chronic shocked me since I thought I was going to die soon. I felt sad to note that I was suffering from a chronic health condition.

Since I discovered that I was suffering from COPD, I began wondering how I would cope with the condition and manage it effectively so that I could live happily again. When I inquired from the doctor, he told me I could manage the condition by quitting smoking, using medications, utilizing oxygen therapy, and eating a healthy diet. The first thing I had to do was to quit smoking cigar because I was already addicted. The doctor gave me some medications that enhanced dilation of the bronchioles, and thus eased breathing difficulties that I constantly struggled to overcome. Oxygen therapy was also essential to support breathing and prevent the occurrence of oxygen tension, which threatened to kill me. I did not know oxygen therapy until when the doctor sent the equipment, a portable oxygen tank, to my house. When I saw the equipment, it shocked me since I thought that it was going to die soon. It was so hard to understand how I could survive using the equipment and medications as life seemed quite unbearable again for me. Fortunately, my sisters encouraged me to manage the condition well. Moreover, when I noted that many people are suffering from the same condition, I learned a lot from them regarding the management of chronic disorders and living a happy life, just like everybody.

Living with COPD was very hard since I had to struggle in life just like anyone. The chronic condition limited the nature of jobs that I could do and the social activities I could perform. I eventually got a job in a manufacturing company that dealt with automotive parts. Although I started at the level of the assembly line, I managed to gain promotion within eight years and became a team leader. While working, I started to attend school on a part-time basis until when the company shut down and I became a dislocated worker. Consequently, I entered into the program of dislocated workers, which helped me to attend school on a full-time basis. Going back to school was very exciting as I was assured of a bright and happy future.

Observations and Reflections of My Experiences

As I have never faced any major illness in my life, I overlooked the essence of good health in the growth and development of a person. I did not know that good health makes life interesting and enjoyable. Since I had good health, I socialized with as many friends as possible, and nothing hindered me from enjoying every bit of social activities that my friends perform. My friends introduced me to smoke a cigar, which I started as a leisure activity, but I gradually became addicted to it. I was very innocent because I never bothered knowing about the consequences or side effects of smoking cigar. Owing to my innocence or rather an ignorance, I indulged in the habit of smoking cigar. Apart from smoking, I engaged in other social activities that I came to realize that they affected my growth and development during adolescence.

My childhood was unique because I did not attend a school like other students. When I saw other students going to school, I did not see the need for learning. As I frequently observed children in their school uniforms, I admired them, but I did not want to attend a school like them. When I grew up, I started to note that education was essential in my life and I commenced general education development (GED). Though I received GED when I was already an adult, it inspired me to pursue a meaningful life. GED was essential in my life because it helped me to secure a job in a survey company. When I acquired GED, I realized the meaning of education in improving the lives of people in all stages of learning. The survey company gave me a platform where I engaged with many people in all occupations. My job entailed interviewing people on the phone and administering questionnaires, which enhanced my communication and research skills. In essence, the job enhanced my stature as a worker for the company promoted me to be a team leader owing to my great leadership skills.

I started to realize I was sick when I was working in the survey company because I experienced breathing difficulties, frequent coughing, chest pains, and the production of sputum. When I sought medical attention, the doctor informed me that I was suffering from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Since I did not know the nature of the disease, I had to inquire from my doctor who explained to me that I was suffering from chronic disorder due to the malfunctioning of the lungs. The doctor further told me that smoking cigar predisposed me to a chronic disorder, and thus I should quit smoking so that I could manage the condition well and lengthen my life. When I heard about my condition, I noted that I was suffering from a very serious condition, which my lifestyle contributed to its occurrence. The doctor also advised me to eat a healthy diet so that I could improve the condition of my lungs, which was deteriorating with time. Moreover, the doctor gave me medications and an oxygen tank. When I saw the oxygen tank in my room, it made me realize the severity of the condition in my life, as it reminded me that I had to comply with all the instructions from my doctor.

When my friends heard that I was sick, they ran away from me because most of them did not bother to visit me, and thus I found myself lonely. The people who encouraged me to continue living a meaningful life are my sisters who visited me constantly. My sisters gave me the moral support that I needed and made me manage my condition well. Since I wanted to live like other people, I had to secure a job though I was unable to perform all kinds of tasks. Eventually, I decided to work in a manufacturing company, which is an automotive company. In the company, I performed very well and gained promotion within eight years. Unfortunately, the company shut down due to the recession, and I was compelled to become a dislocated worker. Since I had attended school on a part-time basis when I was working, the dislocated program of workers helped me to attend school on a full-time basis. Attending school enhanced my hope in life given that education was the only way that I could use to improve my health condition and live happily.

Formation of Abstract Concepts and Generalizations

Basing on the concrete experience and reflective observation, it is evident that I was suffering from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a disease that affects the lungs and prevents them from functioning normally. According to Warren (2009), the main signs and symptoms of the chronic disorder are coughing, production of phlegm or sputum, dyspnea, difficulties in breathing, and enlargement of airspaces and bronchioles. These signs and symptoms are life-threatening because they indicate the extent to which COPD have destroyed lungs, and thus preventing them from functioning effectively. COPD damages the lungs and reduces their ability to supply the required amount of oxygen in the body, which consequently causes low oxygen tension in the blood and tissues. Low oxygen tension means that the body is unable to conduct metabolic and physiological activities optimally, and therefore, makes an individual experience systemic complications.

Furthermore, the analysis of concrete experience and reflective observation indicates that the nature of life that I lived predisposed me to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Since I smoked the cigar, it became evident that it predisposed me to COPD. Warren (2009) states that cigarette smoking, dust particles, and air pollution are major causes of COPD among the population. In this view, since I engaged in numerous social activities, smoked cigar, and worked in the survey and manufacturing companies, I exposed myself to substances that cause COPD. Moreover, since I was innocent and did not care about the nature of activities or substances that I indulged myself in them, they cumulatively contributed to my condition. Given that I got my GED when I was already an adult, it implies that I was very ignorant about life and the essence of education during my childhood. Overall, the nature of life that I lived and the lifestyle I gained coupled with my ignorance predisposed me to COPD

In the experience of diagnosis, treatment, and management of COPD, the doctor advised me to stop smoking cigar, eat a healthy diet, take medications, and use oxygen therapy. Qaseem et al. (2011) state that, the objectives of treatment and management of COPD are to reduce the decline in the functions of the lungs, prevent deterioration of the lungs, reduce the frequency of hospitalization, relieve disabling effects of dyspnea, enhance activity tolerance, improve quality of life, and eventually prevent mortality. In this view, to quit smoking is an intervention that helps in halting the progression of COPD, while eating a healthy diet is an intervention that aids in improving the health status of the lungs and the general body. The use of medications and oxygen therapy is important because it enhances the management of COPD. The medications reduce the occurrence of breathing difficulties, while oxygen therapy relieves the lungs from straining during respiration.

Since COPD is a chronic disorder, it requires effective management interventions. For the interventions to be effective, the patient requires essential moral support. From the concrete experience, my sisters and the doctor gave me moral support, because they encouraged me to live a normal life and ensured that I took great care of myself by adhering to the required treatment and management practices. Moreover, working in the survey and manufacturing companies enhanced my morale in life because they promoted me as a way of appreciating my contributions. Although I became a dislocated worker, the dislocated program of workers enabled me to pursue my studies. Hence, education revived my hope and dream of living a quality life.

Application of Concepts in New Situations

Given that my past lifestyle predisposed me to COPD, I will try to live a healthy life that is free from factors that can deteriorate my condition. First, I will stop smoking a cigar because it mainly causes COPD. As I interacted with many friends who suffered from COPD, most of them confessed that they smoked tobacco and cigar, which made them acquire COPD. Moreover, the doctor informed me that the smoking cigar was the main cause of COPD. On this basis, the only means of halting or reducing the progression of COPD and saving my life from the chronic condition is to quit smoking and live a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the doctor advised me to eat a healthy diet so that I could improve the condition of my lungs, which was deteriorating with time. Essentially, I need to change my lifestyle so that I can manage the disorder effectively.

In the treatment and management of the disorder, I will utilize medications and oxygen therapy. Medications such as anticholinergics and beta-agonists are applicable in the management of COPD because they reduce the occurrence of breathing difficulties, which is the main symptom associated with COPD. The use of oxygen therapy is very important in the long-term management of COPD as it reduces the strain caused by low oxygen tension. According to Qaseem et al. (2011), clinical guidelines require the use of oxygen therapy because clinical evidence shows that daily supplementation of oxygen for about 15 hours or more aids in the maintenance of oxygen pressure at the level above 60 mm Hg. Consequently, the maintenance of oxygen pressure level above 60 mm Hg reduces the mortality of patients significantly. In this view, I will ensure that I utilize oxygen therapy optimally to enhance the functioning of my lungs and consequently lengthen my life.

Regarding the occupation, I will continue with my studies so that I can achieve a good grade that will enable me to secure a decent job that does not affect my health. As I worked in the manufacturing company that dealt with automotive part parts, it was not good because it entailed tough activities, which my body was unable to perform due to COPD. Warren (2009) also notes that dust particles in manufacturing industries have deleterious effects on the human lungs because they predispose people to COPD. This means that I will choose occupations that will not degenerate my health condition. Therefore, education is the only way that will help me decide on the nature of occupation that is good for my health.

References

Qaseem, A., Wilt, T., Steven, W., Hanania, N., Criner, G., Molen, T., … & Marciniuk, D. (2011). Diagnosis and Management of Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary

Disease: A Clinical Practice Guideline Update from the American College of Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society, and European Respiratory Society. Annals of Internal Medicine, 55(3), 179-191.

Warren, C. (2009). The nature and Causes of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A historical Perspective. Canadian Respiratory Journal, 18(1), 13-20.

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